Jeannette Walls, the award-winning author of “The Glass Castle” spoke at Jesse Auditorium on Nov. 4 as part of Delta Gamma’s 24th annual Lectureship in Values and Ethics. Walls overcame a tumultuous childhood with a bipolar father and unreliable mother and took those experiences to become a best-selling author and journalist.
Lucinda Rice-Petrie, the chairperson for the lectureship committee, said that the committee chose to have Walls come because she is a fantastic storyteller and because she represents many of MU’s core values.
“Mrs. Jeannette Walls is an individual who epitomizes the values we alumni and students of the University hold dear: respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence,” Rice-Petrie said. “She has a great story to share.”
When Walls stepped onto the stage, she captivated her audience as she spoke about overcoming the fear of people finding out about her background. She mixed in humor as she described how her childhood experiences have shaped her as an adult.
“You can’t change the past, but you can change the way that you feel about it, and you can certainly change the future,” Walls said during her presentation. “I think it’s less of a matter of forgiving [my parents]. The person I had to forgive was myself.”
The one point that Walls emphasized more than anything was that she wouldn’t change a single part of her childhood because it has led her to be where she is now.
“Life is good for me now,” Walls said. “I appreciate everything I have because of my childhood, and I never take anything for granted. Running water, leftover food, a working toilet — it’s all of these things that make life so great.”
The event was free to MU students and $20 for the general public. Jesse Auditorium was a mix of Delta Gamma sorority sisters and fans of “The Glass Castle.” After she finished her prepared presentation, Walls opened up the floor to questions from the audience.
Sophomore Amanda Korsmeyer thought it was interesting how Walls described the translation of her book to being made into a movie.
“When another girl asked how [Walls] felt about the movie, I was so excited to hear her answer,” Korsmeyer said. “I loved the movie and was so glad to hear that she did too because that meant the movie was even more well done than I originally thought. And the fact that she was willing to let her story be told on the big screen is so brave.”
Edited by Alexandra Sharp | firstname.lastname@example.org